Stockholm: FC Copenhagen have made the step up from domestic superpower in Denmark to European aspirants after reaching the Champions League knockout phase for the first time.
The club, only formed in 1992 after a merger, surprised many with the quality attacking play which secured second place in Group D and signalled that the balance of power in Scandinavian football may be moving from Norway to Denmark.
Stale Solbakken’s side held group heavyweights Barcelona at home while victory at Panathanaikos in Athens went a long way to helping them qualify for the last 16.
“Given that we were seeded third in Group D, you could probably expect us to finish in third place. But we came second, and now we’re looking forward to finding out who we get in the draw,” club secretary Charles Maskelyne told reporters.
Norwegian champions Rosenborg, previously the only Scandinavian club to progress beyond the group stages in the competition’s current format, have been Champions League regulars but were knocked out by Copenhagen at the final qualifying stage.
While Copenhagen have flourished in the Champions League, Rosenborg have struggled in this season’s Europa League.
Domestically, Copenhagen have been unstoppable and lead the championship by a massive 19 points after 19 games.
Founded in 1992 when KB and B1903 merged, the side from the capital have won the title in three of the last four seasons.